Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
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Although two languages in contact may contain similar structures, superficial structural similarities may abscond important differences. The comparative method critically determines whether the languages differ in relative rates of variant use, the significance of independent variables, constraint rankings, and ordering within factor groups (Poplack & Tagliamonte 2001). The study explored intensifier (i.e., degree modifier) variation between Spanish and and Catalan and “very”, as based on 84 sets of responses from bilinguals on a 24-item contextualized preference task (40 in Catalan, 44 in Spanish). Results indicated significantly higher selection of in Spanish than in Catalan. Moreover, independent variables played a greater role in Spanish, with adjective quality, animacy, and verb type all predicting intensifier selection, whereas in Catalan only adjective quality was predictive. The study provided the first variationist analysis of Catalan intensification, while also revealing key systemic differences between the two languages despite surface similarities.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): comparative method; morphosyntax; sociolinguistic variation
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